A year has passed since Catherine and Michael Hall lost their teenage daughter in a car accident, leaving them and their son, Rowan, reeling in the aftermath of the tragedy. After Catherine withdraws from her life to Hamden ... a young woman, appears at the house claiming to have once lived there, all is not what it seems.
An ancient narrative shimmers through Evgenia Citkowitz’s intricately constructed debut novel, which tells the thrilling story of a modern British family haunted by ghosts of its own making. Written in cool and crystalline prose, The Shades unspools in a rational and realistic world in which all is not as it seems ... Citkowitz’s narrative flows seamlessly from past to present, folding time into pleats, shaking them gracefully loose ... a twist at the end, too moving and shrewd to reveal, may require a larger suspension of disbelief ... There are only a few misfires ... The novel’s ending clicks elegantly in sync with the beginning and holds a koan. If a living shade is shocked joyously awake and then, like poor Eurydice, is denied a second chance, does it matter that the shade awoke?
For the Hall family, the country house called Hamdean was supposed to be a retreat, a suite of well-appointed rooms where they could escape their busy London lives ... However, shortly after thier move, Catherine is questioned by local authorities about the body of a young woman who has either fallen or jumped to her death from the roof of Hamdean ... The Shades, follows the Halls and their teenage son, Rowan, as they try to put their lives back together after a sudden and shocking loss ... The Shades functions both as a thriller and a deep psychological examination of the life of a broken family. It's a slim novel, and Citkowitz doesn't waste a word; it's a book that's both intricately plotted and perfectly paced. The circumstances of the family's growing estrangement from one another are revealed piecemeal ... It's an absorbing book by an author who knows how to create organic suspense without ever overplaying her hand
When 16-year-old Rachel texts her father asking permission to stay overnight with a friend, he responds with his most common refrain, 'Ask your mother.' That night Rachel dies in a car crash, and 'ask your mother' takes on far greater significance than simple permission for a sleepover ... As in any good gothic tale, after Rachel’s death, Michael and Catherine, along with their surviving son, Rowan, must either move forward or go mad. The novel revolves around their attempts to adapt to their new lives as a trio instead of a quartet ... As in any good gothic tale, after Rachel’s death, Michael and Catherine, along with their surviving son, Rowan, must either move forward or go mad. The novel revolves around their attempts to adapt to their new lives as a trio instead of a quartet ... The ending of the novel is murky and those who require a neat final moment may be disappointed. It does, however, come full circle and revisit, from a new perspective, the awful event that Catherine witnesses. It’s then left to each reader to determine the answer to the question of the mysterious young woman. Readers may interpret the ending differently based on personal experiences, bringing them into the same situation the characters find themselves: How do you understand the world now?